A fan-favorite moment that was removed from the classic E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios Florida as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic has finally returned, according to a tweet from ThrillGeek. 

What’s Happening:

  • Back in 1990, the height of interactivity at a theme park was in Universal Studios Florida’s E.T. Adventure. Passengers would hear the box office favorite E.T. himself say their name and thanking them for helping save the green planet.
  • If none of this makes sense, there was also a pre-show that would explain the concept of being able to travel to the green planet aboard a bike with E.T., but first, you need your interplanetary passport. Conveniently, the highly regulated desk that issues them is just beyond the next set of doors where a helpful agent will help you get yours, simply by asking your name.
  • This brief moment actually became a fan-favorite and when the Universal parks reopened after being closed due to the global pandemic, notably missing was the pre-show and passport desk. This was to alleviate the amount of interaction and touchpoints and increase social distancing throughout the park. Guests would simply walk through a series of open doors into the forest portion of the queue.
  • Now, according to a tweet from ThrillGeek, that moment has finally returned, complete with the pre-show for the attraction.

  • In the pre-show, we see Steven Spielberg explain to guests that E.T.’s planet is dying and it's up to us to help him by finding his friends and saving the planet. It’s at this moment that Spielberg tells us that we need our interplanetary passports, and we head into the next room where we tell an agent our first name.
  • This sets up a moment at the end of the attraction where E.T. (in animatronic form) will say thank you and goodbye to his new friends by saying their name as the vehicle passes. The moment was born out of Speilberg’s (who directed the original film, E.T.,) request that like his film, there be a personal connection amongst guests. Peter Alexander of the Totally Fun Company, who participated in the attraction’s development said “I thought about how to achieve the ‘personal moment’ and said, ‘What if he knows your name? What if E.T. knows everyone's name, and thanks them by name for bringing him home?’ Steven thought that would be great, so we then proceeded with the monumental task of developing a computer system that would recognize 20,000 names and allow our audio-animatronic E.T. to say each guest's name in the final scene.”
  • Spielberg himself and the cult-classic status of the attraction among fans have helped add to the attraction’s lengthy time at the park, with the attraction being the only original opening day attraction that hasn’t seen major changes, if not complete removal at Universal Studios Florida. Only the preshow, queue videos, and the art on the passports have been altered through the years.

  • It should also be noted that guests are not allowed to keep the Interplanetary Passports, likely to make sure that interplanetary travel is strictly regulated for the purposes of helping E.T.

Laughing Place recommends UniversalFanTravel.com for all your Universal Orlando Resort travel planning